Holocaust Memory among Palestinian Arab Citizens in Israel Personal Sympathy and National Antagonism

On International Holocaust Memorial Day in 2010, Ahmad Tibi, an
Arab member of the Israeli Parliament (Knesset), gave a speech that left
the audience excited to the extent that the speaker, Reuven Rivlin, declared
it »the best speech on the Holocaust ever heard in the Knesset.«1
What was so unique about Tibi’s speech? Was it the mere fact that it was
an Arab MK who spoke about the Holocaust? Or was it the relief felt by
the predominantly Jewish members of the audience that a Palestinian patriot
had finally recognized the Jewish tragedy in full, and did not try to
compare, minimize, or, God forbid, deny it?
Tibi opened his speech by expressing his full empathy with the survivors,
claiming that »this is the moment when every person should let
go his national or religious affiliations and differences, and wear only his
human gown, look inside and around and remain just a human being.«2
He spoke fiercely against Holocaust denial and acknowledged that the
Holocaust was the worst crime against humanity in modern times. In the
following days the press reported on hundreds of calls from Holocaust
survivors to Tibi and on an unprecedented compliment from Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu. But most of all, Tibi was moved by the Arab
students who called him and said: »Finally you were able to show the human
aspects of the Arabs, now the Jews understand that we are empathic

toward their suffering during that period.«3
At the same time, another Arab MK, Muhammad Barakeh, the head
of Hadash party, visited Auschwitz. His visit caused debate and criticism
within the Arab public and media in Israel. Barakeh, like Tibi, stood firm
and claimed that the majority of Arabs and Jews alike supported his ges-
* This essay is dedicated to the memory of Salem Jubran (1941-2011), a writer and a
poet, a colleague and friend, who was one of the first Arab educators on the Shoah.

המשך…

להמשך קריאה Holocaust Memory among Palestinian Arab Citizens in Israel Personal Sympathy and National Antagonism

One young woman against Evil: Chaya Shapiro-Lazar and her journey to freedom

To my brave mother

A Jewish Family

 She was born in a stormy snowy night in Vilna, on the first of January 1924, the last child of Sarah and Dov Shapiro. Her sister Yehudit and her brother Yitzhak were older than Chaya who enjoyed a spoiled and calm childhood as the pet child of the family, mischievous, smart, a rebel, not liking frameworks – and so she remained until the end of her life in 2003.

 Her mother Sarah nee Rodominer belonged to a family which came to Vilna from the village of Rodomino in Lithuania. Her two brothers and her mother, Grandma Liebe (Ahuva) lived close by. She was a beautiful and musical woman, and used to sing to her children and to regret that they did not inherit her talent for music. She was a housewife, but also a sewer of leather gloves by profession, a vocation which later saved her and her family for a while, in the ghetto. המשך…

להמשך קריאה One young woman against Evil: Chaya Shapiro-Lazar and her journey to freedom